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What are Boomerangers?

Boomerangers are individuals who return to live with their parents after a period of independence, often due to economic challenges or personal transitions. This trend reflects shifting societal norms and economic realities. As we delve deeper into the causes and impacts of this phenomenon, consider how it might be reshaping family dynamics and housing markets. What's your take on the Boomerang Generation?
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

The proverbial 'empty nest' may not stay empty for long if a new subculture called boomerangers can help it. The term boomerangers refers to post-graduation adults who choose to return home to their parents instead of seeking their fortunes elsewhere. According to the most recent census figures, over 18 million young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 currently live in their childhood homes. As that number continues to grow, sociologists and other interested parties are trying to make sense of it all.

Boomerangers are not necessarily unemployed or unmotivated, but many of them are simply underfinanced. The starting salaries for many entry-level jobs is often so low that young adults cannot afford to pay off their student loans and credit cards while simultaneously managing an independent household. The answer for boomerangers is painfully obvious -- return home temporarily until their incoming wages outweigh their outgoing expenses. The idea of becoming an independent adult may have to take a backseat to the realities of life.

It's important for boomerangers to pitch in with routine chores and errands.
It's important for boomerangers to pitch in with routine chores and errands.

Some parents embrace the concept of boomerangers, even if it means reliving a role they thought they had abandoned forever. Having an able-bodied adult in their home means more security and less dependence on others for routine chores and errands. Some boomerangers find themselves taking on the role of caregiver for aging parents, which can mean a significant savings compared to assisted living facilities. Boomerangers often pay their fair share of rent and utilities, although this practice may not be as universal as some parents may hope.

Having boomerangers in the house can increase certain costs, such as grocery bills.
Having boomerangers in the house can increase certain costs, such as grocery bills.

The controversy surrounding boomerangers is often more social than financial. Society in general favors a traditional progression from dependent child to independent young adult to responsible married couple. Parents who have successfully raised their children should have the right to enjoy their later lives without the responsibility of parenthood. The phenomenon of boomerangers definitely throws a monkey wrench in this traditional machinery. In a world in which entry-level jobs have been outsourced to other countries, more and more adult children may feel the need to regroup and rethink at home.

Younger boomerangers can take care of household chores that are too difficult for aging parents.
Younger boomerangers can take care of household chores that are too difficult for aging parents.

Experts suggest that parents dealing with boomerangers set definite boundaries and expectations. Rent and other financial responsibilities should be clearly defined and put in writing. The arrangement should be seen as temporary, in order to avoid a sense of entitlement or laxity on the part of the adult child. Boomerangers shouldn't necessarily be treated as freeloaders, but neither should they be encouraged to abuse the privilege of free room and board. Once the boomerangers have reached a point at which their outstanding expenses are manageable and their income is sufficient for independent living, they should recognize the need to leave the nest once again.

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

A regular PublicPeople contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Learn more...
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

A regular PublicPeople contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Learn more...

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    • It's important for boomerangers to pitch in with routine chores and errands.
      By: Photographee.eu
      It's important for boomerangers to pitch in with routine chores and errands.
    • Having boomerangers in the house can increase certain costs, such as grocery bills.
      By: iofoto
      Having boomerangers in the house can increase certain costs, such as grocery bills.
    • Younger boomerangers can take care of household chores that are too difficult for aging parents.
      By: rekemp
      Younger boomerangers can take care of household chores that are too difficult for aging parents.
    • Boomerangers should take care of their own responsibilities, such as laundry duty.
      By: Africa Studio
      Boomerangers should take care of their own responsibilities, such as laundry duty.
    • Some boomerangers may be able to keep their aging parents out of a nursing home by hiring part-time home health aides.
      By: Sandor Kacso
      Some boomerangers may be able to keep their aging parents out of a nursing home by hiring part-time home health aides.